National Certificated Flight Instructor of the Year



 Since 1962, the General Aviation Awards Program has recognized a small group of aviation professionals in the fields of flight instruction, aviation maintenance, avionics, and flight safety for their important contributions to the aviation community.

This awards program is a partnership and a cooperative effort between more than a dozen sponsoring organizations from the aviation industry and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The selection process begins with local offices. Panels of aviation professionals from within those four fields then select national winners from the pool of regional winners.

The FAA administrator annually has presented the national awards in July during a “Theater in the Woods” program at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Included in the prize packages for each national winner is an all-expense paid trip to Oshkosh for the recipient and a guest to attend the awards presentation and other GA Awards activities. Generous contributions from industry sponsors pay for the winners’ expenses, while the FAA provides the support and structure for nominations to proceed from local to national levels. Hard working volunteers within the industry provide the various administrative tasks.

The General Aviation Awards Program is a cooperative effort between the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and aviation industry sponsors to recognize annually outstanding individuals in the fields of Avionics, Flight Instruction, and Maintenance. In addition, the program recognizes outstanding individuals serving the FAA Safety Team (FAASTeam) as representatives.

The awards highlight the important roles these individuals play in promoting aviation safety, education, and professionalism. Winners will be recognized locally, regionally and nationally. National winners will be recognized during AirVenture-Oshkosh each July. There, they will also receive gifts and merchandise provided by sponsors and contributors. 

For More information about GA Awards, please visit their webpage

2019  National CFI of the Year

Gary Dale Reeves of Decatur, Texas has been named the 2019 National Certificated Flight Instructor of the Year. Gary is an ATP and Master CFI with over 7,500 hours (mostly instruction given) in over 50 types of aircraft from Cessna 172s to Beech 1900s.

Gary is founder and chief safety officer of, an organization he created in 2013 to reduce general aviation accidents by offering free and low-cost training programs. He now specializes in single-pilot IFR using autopilots, GPS and electronic flight bag software.

In 2016, Gary created Master Flight Training to provide three-day Mastering Single-Pilot IFR programs for pilots who fly with Avidyne or Garmin glass cockpits. In the past three years, he has given this training to more than 60 pilots in 24 states involving 26 different aircraft models.

Since 2012, Gary has been a Lead FAASTeam Representative, first with the Long Beach (Calif.) FSDO and now with the North Texas FSDO. In this capacity, he has taught more than 130 free FAA Wings-credit Safety Seminars in 10 states. He is a much in-demand speaker at major general aviation events including EAA AirVenture, Sun ‘n Fun, AOPA Regional Fly-Ins, and Northwest Aviation Expo.

Gary is the official National Training Provider for both Avidyne Avionics and Genesys Aerosystems (S-TEC). He was honored in 2015 by the Long Beach (Calif.) FSDO as both Instructor of the Year and FAASTeam Representative of the Year. In 2016, he was honored as Instructor of the Year by the FAA Western-Pacific Region.

Gary is a member of the Aircraft Owners & Pilots Association (AOPA), American Bonanza Society (ABS), Cirrus Owners & Pilots Association (COPA), National Association of Flight Instructors (NAFI), and the Society of Flight Educators (SAFE). [email protected]


Past National CFI of the Year Recipients:

2018 Daniel P. Christman (NAFI#16593)
1992 William K Kershner
2017 Charles O. Gensler (NAFI# 18957) 1991  Lloyd J Probst
2016 Robert J. Hepp (NAFI# 216994) 1990 Sandra Provenzano
2015 Mary A. Schu (NAFI# 215075) 1989 John U. Rockcastle (NAFI#8012)
2014 Howard W. Wolvington (NAFI# 16507) 1988 Jeffrey Hanson
2013 Dean W. Eichholz (NAFI# 8691) 1987 June B. Bonesteel (NAFI#7685)
2012 Hobart C. Tomlinson (NAFI#19656) 1986 Genie Ray O’Kelley
2011 Judy A. Phelps 1985 Harold W Spencer
2010 Jeffery R. Moss (NAFI#215505) 1984 James G Byrnes
2009 Arlynn McMahon (NAFI#20271) 1983 Mary J. Reindl
2008 Max Trescott 1982 Gladys M. Morrison
2007 Michael G. Gaffney 1981 Fred H. Atkinson
2006 Richard L. Stowell, Jr 1980 Lee G. Barnes
2005 John A. Teipen (NAFI#13290) 1979 Evelyn B. Johnson
2004 Douglas Stewart 1978 Obie Sigrest Young (NAFI#2947)
2003 William J. Edwards (NAFI#12331) 1977 Edward Alan Englehardt
2001 Phillip J. Poynor (NAFI#9685) 1976 Gregory G. Gorak (NAFI#1245)
2002 Kirby V. Ortega (NAFI#14010) 1975 Unknown
2000 Gregory N. Brown 1974 Unknown
1999 David H. Faile 1973 Willard C. Marvin
1998 John C. “JC” Boylls (NAFI#4659) 1972 Thomas M. Smith
1997 James E. Trusty 1971 Unknown
1996 Ludwig J. “Lou” Wipotnik 1970 Unknown
1995 Lyn Carlson 1969 Unknown
1994 William E Huber 1968 Unknown
1993 Kenneth W Medley 1967 Henry “Hank” S. Hubbell